by Rodolfo Escobar Cantiveros
Tia Carrere & Apl.d.Ap headlines glam event
photo credit: photos by Oliver Carnay
The email bag can bring lots of surprises. One email from a familiar name, Bernardo Bernardo brings back memories of university days at the University of Sto. Tomas. A former classmate in Journalism at UST and a colleague in the UST Aquinas Dramatic Guild, Bernardo a.k.a. BB, is a well known character in Philippine Television and movie. Now based in the US and currently a producer/promoter of concerts in California and Las Vegas, he sent an update of events that keep Pinoys buzzing with activities as they mark the centennial of Filipino migration to the U.S. Here goes an excerpt of BB’s account:
We just celebrated the Filipino American Library’s (FAL) recent biggest annual event by honoring “Apl.d. Ap” (ALLAN PINEDA LINDO) with the FAL’s Role Model Award at the 6th Annual spirit Awards and Dinner Benefit Gala at the Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles. And the balut-loving, unabashed Pinoy international rap artist was a certified hit as his acceptance speech met with repeated enthusiastic applause.
This year’s Gala commemorated the centennial of Filipino migration to the United States. And the high profile glam event was a baptism of fire for me as the newest Board Member of FAL. While the preparations were no picnic, the results were truly worth it. The evening was sold out. Admittedly, Board Chairman Emeritus FRITZ FRIEDMAN, VP for Worldwide Publicity for Columbia TriStar and Sony, is a hard task master, but the goals for the year’s Main Event were met.
Among the evening’s entertainers were radiant TIA CARRERE, who wowed the audience with her sultry singing prowess; the fabulous III OF A KIND, who brought the house down with R&B numbers; and, erstwhile Kim of Miss Saigon STEPHANIE REESE, doing an operatic “Sarungbanggi” and other Pinoy folk songs. (Remember Stephanie who was a guest singer during the GK’s Wow na Wow concert here in Winnipeg last April?) Highlighting the ballroom dancing theme of the event were dance exhibition numbers by RUBEN ENGUIO and RUTH ANN JARDINAZO with ANDY DOMINGUEZ and JEANINE JAIME. The show was hosted and directed by TED BENITO of TDRZ Productions.
While Fil-Am movers and shakers from different sectors of Southern California were represented in their fashionable best, among the special guests that stood out were the Spirit Awards honorees including RAFFY LOPEZ (ABS-CBN Global, Ltd), SUSAN DILKES of the Filipino American Service Group (FASGI), and JOHN CHIANG, Chair - State Board of Equalization.
Celebrity seekers found time for photo ops with ANGELA PEREZ BARAQUIO (Miss America 2001), CAMILE VELASCO (American Idol Season 3), DENISE DADOR (ABC-7’s “Eyewitness News”), JANELLE SO (LA 18’s “Kababayan LA”) and actor RAYMOND BAGATSING who will soon be touring the play “Luna Azul” in the US. Even the photographers were amazed at the energy and good humor Tia Carrere and Apl showed as practically everyone in the ballroom wanted to have their photos taken with them. Behind the scenes, JOHN MINA, President for the Board and FAL Administrator JONATHAN LORENZO worked along with other Board Members for a smooth run of the proceedings which included a fundraising Silent Auction of donated items worth $13,000.00.
The Fil-Am Press was in full support with their notable presence. ROSELY E. IBANEZ, Chairperson of the FAL Board of Directors, had this to say, “We appreciate the wonderful community spirit of Bayanihan, especially during the centennial year of immigration. We recognize the significant contributions that Filipinos have added to the rich fabric that makes up America.” In a related event, as part of the celebration of 100 years of Filipino migration to the US, your friend BB will be featured as one of 100 Fil-Ams through the installation of I AM TODAY’S FILIPINO, a first of its kind photo and video exhibit that pays tribute to Filipinos in the United States.
It is the selected culminating event of the Los Angeles/Southern California Filipino American Centennial Planning Committee, which works in partnership with the Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific American Program and is supported by ABS-CBN/The Filipino Channel, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo Bank and Southern California Edison. This exhibit opens October 28, 2006 to coincide with Filipino American History Month at Farmani Gallery, one of the leading galleries of Contemporary Photography in Los Angeles.
Just sharing!... All the best- BB
Post-script: I invited BB to come to Winnipeg for my theatre presentation next year (I’m writing a play about the two spin doctors (the pro and the con of image makers) of the former First Lady Imelda Marcos and also to bring some of the US based entertainers. I told him just come and we’ll make a show. And he is excited.